It was a race of contrasting fortunes for the Sauber drivers at today’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Esteban Gutierrez starred to finish eleventh, and came close to scoring the first points of his F1 career after earlier leading the race for a time. However, things were tougher for Nico Hulkenberg who suffered a pit lane collision with Jean Eric Vergne, and had to serve a stop and go penalty. He finished in fifteenth.
“We knew that it would be a difficult race today. The start went well and, until the incident in the pit lane, we looked quite good. We planned for a three stop, but then had to convert to a four stop. But then we had the incident, which ruined the race for us. Obviously the timing wasn’t quite right, but we are a team, so we have to look into it and make sure it does not happen again. Overall the car still felt quite difficult to drive, and I think we still have some homework ahead of us,” a disappointed German said.
Hulkenberg’s rookie team mate, Gutierrez, was more upbeat, but disappointed to have narrowly missed out on a points finish.
“I focused on getting the most out of the car today, and it was important to achieve a result like this for me and the team. The team has given me the patience and tools to improve as a driver and this is what I could extract from the car. It was a tough race and tyre management was critical. At the beginning of the race I was quite surprised about how much I could get out of the tyres. The last two stints were a bit more difficult, but this is a step forward,” he said.
“We didn’t expect to make a huge step forward, because we knew that other competitors would also have improvements. However, our updates worked as expected, which is positive. Nevertheless, we know we have to further improve. The analysis of this weekend will help to make bigger steps in the future,” team principal Monisha Kalternborn concluded.